Finding my people

Long time, no blog! I hope you have all been having fun while I have been away. I had a wonderful time at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, both in the sessions and in meeting wonderful people and socialising. It was so lovely to meet people who were interested in the same things that I am. I made some very useful contacts including some people who sent me their research which was very kind of them. It is brilliant to know that there are people out there interested in the same things that I am and I came home very enthused about my doctorate.

It was wonderful to be in such a lovely environment. I stayed in student halls which took me back a bit, though they were much more sophisticated than in my day, more like Travelodge rooms. Leeds University campus is very similar to ours with a mix of different period buildings and these were my favourite ones. Quite fitting given my interest in textiles as they were the Clothworkers’ Court.

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In the lobby there was a display of dyeing samples. I can just imagine the workers in the local textile industry coming to have lectures all about the different processes.

I went to quite a few really interesting presentations on textiles as well as ones on pilgrim badges and manuscripts. In total I attended about 36 separate presentations so I had a very busy week.

One of the most fascinating was about how they make facsimile manuscripts. There was a presentation and display by a company based in Germany, Zeireis Facsimiles,  where they showed the very complex process which was really amazing. They had some gorgeous reproductions including one of Mary Stuart’s book of hours below in the velvet cover.

IMC 6 Manuscript

IMC 1 Manuscript

IMC 3 Manuscript

IMC 2 Manuscript

There were also displays every lunchtime from the Brotherton Library, which is based at Leeds University. Those were fascinating, though some were not as ornate as others, but just amazing that they have survived this long.

IMC 10 Manuscript

IMC 9 Manuscript

I would love to go over and look at some of the manuscripts there so will try and factor that in to some free time after completing the doctorate.One other interesting thing was that they hold the collection of drawings from one of the major sources we use for costume research for re-enactment, by Herbert Norris, so I would love to look at those.

On the last day there was a medieval market with displays and stalls including one of my favourite textile people, Tanya Bentham from Threads of Time. She has the most amazing embroidery on her blog, Opus Anglicanum.

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I also saw the lovely Jim of Trinity Court Potteries who I buy all my medieval ware from as well as one of my favourite thread suppliers, the Mulberry Dyer, who were doing a rope making demonstration. There was also book binding and falconry, it was just like being at a re-enactment event!

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IMC Market 1

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The combat displays were done by a very good group called Three Swords, you might recognise the heraldry on this shield as Jamie in our group also portrays De Warrene.

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I loved the outfits that the Eran ud Turan group were wearing, such amazing fabric! They have a blog here which I am going to devote some time to as they have information about all the wonderful places that I want to travel to when I retire.

I have had a busy week since getting back from the conference, I made a shirt for Jamie as well as doing lots of sorting out and catching up from being away for nearly three weeks and then was off to the wonderful Tewkesbury event for last weekend. I will post about that next time as I need to collect some more pictures of the event first.

In other news the boiler has been poorly, it is nearly fixed but it is going to be quite expensive so I am glad that I have not got much else planned to do this summer. Jake is off in London today sorting out his visa for Japan which is very exciting, fingers crossed all will go well and he can start getting the final arrangements made.

I hope you all have a good week ahead, I shall be mainly working on the doctorate with a bit of work admin thrown in but plan to have some time at the weekend to craft. I seem to have quite a long to do list and really need to decide on an outfit for Lincoln at the end of August.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

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Don’t you know there is a war on?

I wanted to show you some more of the Clumber pictures before I go away again. I didn’t get chance to take many but have also got some from the National Trust Facebook page.

These are mainly courtesy of Charlotte who was organising the event with Ellen and Lewis. He is the marvellous ranger who helped everyone pitch their tents in the rain on Friday when they realised that the ground was really hard and they couldn’t get the pegs in. Here they all are with Winston Churchill and a member of the Admiralty.

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I really love this one of Charlotte and Ellen, they look so happy. Despite the stresses of the event organisation including the bad weather they did a brilliant job and hopefully we may get to attend a similar event next year.

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Ellen got the chance to fire a few guns which made her very happy.

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I met some very nice people while doing the rationing talk, the costumes were brilliant and I had lots of chats with people about making, my favourite sort of conversations.

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These lovely ladies were also Steampunk people and had knitted a Land Army jumper, matching gloves with the rest of the wool and also made a hat.

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I didn’t get their names but the lady with the hat told me she had a very large collection so I don’t feel too indulgent with my now quite small (9 at present) including two Steampunk works in progress.

The displays in the camps looked really interesting, we got a chance to see them on the Friday night after set up and to chat with the re-enactors on Saturday in the beer tent.

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I did not get chance to visit on Sunday as we were so busy but did get chance to have a quick wander round the turning yard where these groups were having afternoon tea with their vintage cars.

I love the attention to detail here, the tablecloths, tea cosies and china all looked amazing. I had serious tablecloth envy and I loved their vintage picnic chairs.

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I am having a very nice quiet day today, it is actually my birthday but I celebrated early in Spain. I had a lovely time there, I did do lots and lots of work on my doctorate so it is about 80% completed. I also got chance to go to the pool a few times and the beach and had a brilliant visit to Tabarca, the island I have previously posted about . It was a gorgeous day and we swam in cool blue sea feeling very lucky and happy.

I am off to a conference tomorrow, the International Medieval Conference in Leeds, where I am presenting about some of my research into how re-enactors develop their roles as medieval royalty. I am really looking forward to that and to going to all of the other presentations that I have chosen, mainly on textiles! It will be brilliant to spend four days in the company of so many people who love the same things that I do.

Then it is back here for some more working on the doctorate time before the Tewkesbury event. I am then looking forward to a nice quiet summer with lots of time to just relax and do textile related things. I seem to have been so busy in the last few months it will be nice to just be at home with very little to do. We do have a couple of weekends away planned but then nothing more until the end of August. I intend to make a big list of all the unfinished projects and get some of those worked on.

I hope you have a nice week ahead, what ever you have planned and thanks, as always for visiting.

 

 

 

 

Doing our bit for the war effort

We had a brilliant time at Clumber. Sadly the weather was not kind to us on Friday or Saturday, resulting in a very damp day of set up and for those who were in the field displays and Ellie and her team, a very wet first day and not many public visiting.

We were fine in the Parsonage and so were very busy on Saturday. Luckily Sunday was lovely and sunny and there were lots of people there enjoying the displays and the music entertainment.Due to the nice weather we expected to be less busy on Sunday but had visitors all day.

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Clumber display 2

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We very much enjoyed playing our new re-enactment roles of Margaret and Ann from the WI. It was very lovely to be able to sit and drink tea and chat to people in the beautiful surroundings of the Parsonage.

The really lovely thing about the event as Kerry said was that unlike medieval where we are giving people lots of information people were sharing their stories with us, their memories of rationing and the sewing and mending that their mums and grannies did and sometimes some very moving stories of their families during the war.

It was so interesting to hear all about their stories and to meet lots of different people. I didn’t get chance to see any of the events in the field during the day as we were quite far away from that part but we had a really nice chat to lots of the re-enactors on Saturday night at the beer tent and made a new friend who was doing a food rationing display.

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Dawn (Mrs Mac) had a brilliant display and it was amazing to see how little food the actual weekly ration was, especially the bacon!

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I love bacon and easily eat four times that in a week.We also loved the cardboard wedding cake which lifted off to reveal a small sponge underneath.

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We had two tables, one for clothes rationing and one for the Make and Mend leaflets and there were some very good reactions to my ‘what will you spend your twenty coupons on?’ activity with a list of what things cost in coupons such as a raincoat for 9 coupons and underwear 2 coupons each.

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I also had lots of my vintage textiles displayed and the transformed shirt as well as the knitting patterns. We were lucky to find some lovely vintage cups to have tea out of!

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I am very glad that I took the crochet lace and pegs which were a last minute idea as I had lots of leaflets and they made a great display on the fireplace. I have also made a new set of marigold flowers for my hat which you can see at the front on the table.

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Here I am demonstrating the use of the darning mushroom.The visitors were all very complimentary about the jacket and no-one thought it was made out of tablecloths. I am very inspired to make something else now, maybe a summer blouse.

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I do have some other pictures of the event which I will share with you later, I am going to be away for the next three weeks, in Spain and at a conference so I will see you all when I return. I am really looking forward to some sun and to lots and lots of sleep! It has been a very busy few weeks but everything has been done now so when I come back things will be much quieter.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Make do and Mend – cute flowers and vintage finds!

I have been having a lovely time this week working on my hat and some more felt flowers. I am now slightly obsessed as these are so easy to make so I have made enough for the hat and for a corsage and am now making some extra ones for my display. One of the things that I bought in the original charity shop bargain haul was a very boring burgundy felt hat so I am planning some beautiful marigold style flowers for that one.

I have treated myself to some new felt which I know is not strictly in the Make do and Mend spirit but I still have quiet books on my to do list for sometime so I will use some of it for that as well.

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I found lots of inspiration for the flowers on Pinterest and also came across this brilliant site with free templates for personal use, thank you Paper and Peony for your generosity with these! I used template P-01 for the pink flowers below and P-03 and P-05 in layers for the hat flowers.

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The corsage flowers are two layers of felt stitched with perle thread with a pearl bead added and then backed with leaves from the templates and a stem I cut myself and stitched with perle. I have seen wired versions as well that use florist’s wire.

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I have added a little brooch pin from stash, I think these came from Ebay or Etsy and I bought them a while ago when I was making flower brooches out of fabric.

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The hat is modelled on an advert for one that I found on Pinterest.

Make do and mend hat

I have no idea if it is actually a 40s design but since it is for a hat and felt flowers to make yourself it does fit with the spirit of Make do and Mend. I actually bought the hat from Amazon here  and removed the feathers and sewed the flowers on with perle. I liked this hat as it is not made from the more modern simamay but from stiffened fabric.

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The flowers are made from three layers of felt petals and then the centre is just a short piece of felt snipped on one side and rolled up and stitched in place. It does not show up very well in the photos but there are different colours used in the pink and darker purple ones.

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I am still working on the slippers ( as I got sidetracked by flowers!) but I wanted to show you the vintage finds that I have been gathering. I do have my mother’s ration book to use in the display, she was born in 1941, but also I managed to win these on Ebay which cover three years of clothing coupons which were owned by a man from Stockton. I wonder if most of the books that are left are from men who did not spend their coupons!

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I have also got this wonderful set of vintage dressing up dolls. I wanted to find something that I could use to let children decide what to spend their coupons on and found this set on Ebay. I wasn’t sure if I was going to carry on bidding for them but told Ellie about them and she won them for me as a present! There are lots of dolls and outfits so they are going to make a marvellous addition to the display.

MDaM - dolls 1

I have also bought some vintage knitting patterns, these are so lovely and I am very tempted to do some actual jumper knitting as I love the styles that were available. I love the cheerful expression on the glove pattern lady’s face and she does have the most fantastic hat.

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I love the pram set, especially the little leggings with feet. I knitted a lot when I was pregnant with Ellie and I still have the little woollen suit that I knitted to bring her home from hospital. I used to love knitting baby bootees as they were so quick and cute.

I have been drooling over the work of a brilliant knitter who I found on my travels, 1940s Style for You. She no longer actually blogs but has a Facebook page and still sells vintage clothing but has some wonderful stuff on her blog and I have been learning a lot as there are posts covering four years of knitting and vintage clothing.

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1940s jumper patterns feature a lot of lacy designs as this takes less wool. Wool cost 2 coupons per ball so the less you could get away with the better when you only had only around 20 coupons for 6 months. I will do a full post on all of the lovely stuff I have found out later on about rationing and tell you more about the Stitching for Victory book as well.

Today’s plans are for a bit more doctorate work then spending the afternoon in the craft room finishing the slippers and sorting out all my things for the event. I leave Thursday afternoon as I am helping with set up on Friday and my wonderful best friend Kerry is coming to get me so we will have chance to have a catch up as well.

I am so excited about the event, there has been some publicity about the replica of the trench digging tank that they have made and it looks absolutely fantastic. I am so proud of Ellie and her team. I am also very, very pleased to tell you that Jake, my son, has got a teaching job in Japan. I am not sure where he will be going yet but that will be sometime in August. I have been a very proud Mum this week 🙂

I hope you have a lovely time whatever you are doing and I will attempt to post some pictures from the event before I leave for Spain a few days later. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Making do – the shirt transformation

I am well underway with all my lovely Make Do and Mend things for my display. I have not only been making things but also acquiring some really interesting things from Ebay. One of the lovely things about this period is that I can actually afford the real artifacts from the period, unlike medieval where they are all in museums or long gone.

I have so much to show you that I am splitting it up into several posts. This one is about one of the charity shop bargain shirts that I got for £1 that I have given a makeover. It did take me a little longer than the one hour they give them on the Sewing Bee but I really enjoyed the process and am very happy with the results.

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I won’t actually wear this one as it is a little short for my taste but will do the same again with other finds as I loved the experimentation. I kept the collar as it was in the end but altered the buttons for some that had a more vintage feel, took in the sleeves and shortened them, added bust darts and shortened it, using the spare material for a cute frill.

I was going to use this piece of embroidered doily for a pocket and so I removed the pocket (thankfully very carefully), and cut it out of the doily but it did not look right so I just used some of the flower motifs for the pocket and collar. I also added some vintage lace to the sleeves.

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I was inspired by advice in the books that I had bought previously on Make do and Mend such as the one below on making new clothes out of worn ones.

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I have just finished reading the wonderful Stitching for Victory book as well which has lots of similar adverts for patterns and detail about all of the sewing during the war.This pattern uses very much the same idea as above and could be bought for 1 shilling from the Girl’s Own Paper.

MDaM - SfV book 1

They also had an advert for a pattern for lingerie, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on some parachute silk or old clothing that was suitable.

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Stitching for Victory is such an amazing book that I will have to do a whole post about it, one of the best books I have ever read about stitching history, so much wonderful detail. It is currently available on Amazon for less than £3 so it is a real bargain as well. One of the very lovely things is that there are lots of quotes from the stitchers of the period, so often the makers’ voices get lost in museum exhibits and the history records so it is wonderful to have the words and pictures from all those wonderful people.

One of the other things that I am loving about this period is that I have so many techniques that I can use for my work. Medieval is wonderful but often I have not been able to do something as it does not fit the period whereas there are less restrictions with this so I am really enjoying that freedom, very much like Steampunk although it is lovely to do the research on the history as well and find authentic things for the period.

I wanted a banner for my table display and was trying to think of what I could do when I spotted an embroidery of ‘make do and mend’ on my craft room wall. It was one of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs that is waiting to be made up into something and it gave me the ideas to stitch the slogan onto something. I was looking for some vintage linen and came across this embroidered traycloth in my stash that made the perfect frame. I learnt to do chain stitch last year so embroidered the letters in the same colours as the original embroidery and am very pleased with it.

MDaM -banner 1

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I am making a demonstration pair of slippers from some felt and scraps of Liberty for hexagons so I will show you those next time and I have just started making some gorgeous felt flowers.

I have a new hat that I ordered from Ebay that needed a little something. I remember seeing some 1940s brooches years ago on Hen House’s blog and thinking they were really lovely and I have come across lots of inspiration such as this diagram in the Stitching for Victory book so I am on with that at the moment.

MDaM - SfV book 5

I hope that you are all having a lovely creative time with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

The tablecloth jacket has a second outing!

When I made my jacket last year for the Asylum Steampunk event I didn’t really think about it being a Make do and Mend garment, I just wanted something original that showed my love of vintage textiles.

The more research I did about what people were doing because of rationing the more I realised that it was perfect as an example and so I was very pleased to be able to wear it to the Haworth 1940s event.

I got some very nice compliments about it as well which was lovely.I wore the same top as last year and shortened my black Steampunk skirt which worked very well. I will buy another replacement one for later Steampunk events but it looked very nice and I felt very elegant.

I didn’t get many good pictures of the outfit as I didn’t have my camera and it was very busy and so only have a few that we took in the cafe with Ellie’s phone, excuse the slightly fuzzy selfie 🙂

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I wore a snood and a flower head band and wore false eyelashes for the first time in my life, it took ages for Ellie to put them on for me so don’t think that will be a regular thing but I do like the 1940s look!

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Ellie looked very gorgeous in the dress she had made and the soldiers were very glad to see her.

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In wartime girls were told that, ‘beauty was your duty’, so there was a real focus on looking the part at all times despite the hardships.

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We also spotted a couple of vintage prams, this one with a very realistic baby in a knitted outfit.

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I would like to spend some time developing my 1940s outfits but at the moment I have so much else on and only one event, which is at Clumber in a few weeks.

It was lovely seeing the inspiration there, so many gorgeous elegant clothes and hairstyles, even if you were in uniform.And hats! I love hats and there were some wonderful ones on display.

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I love Haworth and it just looked amazing with all of the flags and the vintage cars.

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We particularly loved this jeep, complete with carrier pigeons ready to send an emergency message.

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There were lots of people in all sorts of outfits, with displays like this ARP station and a lovely market with lots of beautiful clothes and hats.

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There was always time to get on with a bit of knitting or crochet even though there was a war on and many empty hours in shelters and evenings by the radio were spent in useful work as these ladies were demonstrating.

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We had tea and cake in two of the lovely cafes, luckily there was lots of choice for gluten free and it was great to sit and watch people wander by. All the shops were involved with the windows taped against the blasts and vintage displays.

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A fantastic day out and I am really looking forward to the event in June. I am currently working on a pair of patchwork slippers for the display and then am thinking about some more possible makes, if I have time.

I am at home this weekend but do have to spend most of it marking and doing the doctorate. I might just be able to sneak into the craft room for a bit though:-)

I hope that you have a good Bank Holiday weekend if you are in the UK, we might even get good weather. Ellie is going to be launching the WW2 project at Clumber this weekend so hopefully I will be able to share some photos of that with you. Jake has just come back from a couple of days volunteering with her helping to paint the tank and has got very sunburnt!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

A mini Hardwick Hall

Our last day of the staycation saw us at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, another National Trust property. I have visited twice before but Mum and Ellen had never been. I particularly wanted Ellen to visit as the house was designed by the same architect as Hardwick, where she used to work and is a beautiful miniature version with an amazing textile collection. There are some historic rooms open but much of the public space contains the textiles collected by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.

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Rachel lived there from 1886 until 1967 and collected over 30,000 pieces of textiles, from all cultures and for all uses.

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She was an avid embroiderer and promoter of arts and crafts of all kinds which she taught to keep the skills alive.

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This small display of ecclesiastical goldwork reminded me of my visit to the Elizabeth Hoare collection in Liverpool.

Rachel believed that creativity had health and and social benefits. I like to think that she and I would have been very good friends if I had ever been able to meet her, she sounds wonderful. The collection is maintained by a charity and works with schools and local communities as well as stitchers.

I love this display of her desk in one of the rooms, her stitching is on the walls and in the drawers are all the sorts of things she would have used, I love seeing this very personal side of stitching and can imagine her writing articles for embroidery magazines and deciding on new projects here.

There were some very similar pieces to those in the Women Travellers exhibition at Bankfield Museum that came from Eastern Europe and Asia.

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The displays have changed since I last went about 5 years ago and there were so many wonderful pieces of whitework and lace on display.

These are two things I have never done but am fascinated by the delicacy of the work and think that the shawls and collars are beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to incorporate something like this into a Steampunk costume.

Another thing I loved were these hexagons that she had collected, they had been fussy cut and posted to someone, probably as gift.

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I think it is so exciting to see actual papers made of scraps, you can just imagine the sender making these and sending them to a special friend. There were also some hexagon needlebooks and you know how I love a good hexagon!

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Rachel’s personal rooms also contained this wonderful bed with crewelwork hangings, I am really looking forward to the day when I have a hand- made quilt on my bed, I have one as a work in progress but it will probably be a retirement project as have not touched it for about a year. Luckily fabric does not go off!

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There was also a display of contemporary embroidery inspired by the collection with some beautiful whitework pieces and silk embroidered birds and insects.

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This case of needle work tools was also inspired by the collection.

I have been embracing Rachel’s philosophy very much this week, we are right in the middle of marking season, with the added work on my doctorate and so it has been wonderful to sit and stitch in the evenings. I have been working on a table decoration for my Make do and Mend display and so have been quietly doing chain stitch while watching Netflix, very soothing after a hard day of thinking!

I have transformed a man’s shirt into a blouse for my display as well and am now busy working on other aspects, luckily both Jake and I have worn through socks recently so I will be able to demonstrate my darning mushroom and darning egg and I have just got a copy of a vintage pattern for making some patchwork slippers so that is my next project for the event.I am really enjoying the research for the event and have been doing lots of very interesting reading. I have also just won an auction on Ebay for some clothing and food ration books to add to my artifacts which I am very excited about. I will do a post all about that in a little while but my next post will be all about the Haworth 1940s event that Ellie and I are going to this weekend.

We are very excited, Howarth is such a cute village, home to the Bronte sisters and I have not been to this event before, though we have done a Steampunk one there a few years ago. The tablecloth jacket will have an outing as I have decided it is a great example of Make do and Mend and I will be putting on my false eyelashes and red lipstick for a bit of 1940s glamour. I am aiming for something like the gorgeous Gene Tierney here.

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As with when we do Steampuk it always seems strange to be wearing make up and costume as I am so used to medieval re-enactment and shapeless clothing and all my hair covered. It will be lovely to be able to have a bit of 1940s style and I can’t wait to see all of the gorgeous outfits there.

Hope that you all have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.